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'Rainbow Man' to Go to Trial Over Stink Bomb Charges

December 07, 1993|DAVAN MAHARAJ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — A man known for wearing a rainbow-colored wig and waving religious placards during televised sports events was ordered Monday to stand trial on charges that he set off homemade stink bombs at the Crystal Cathedral and three other facilities in Orange County.

Rollen Frederick Stewart--known to sports fans nationwide as "Rainbow Man"--will be arraigned Dec. 21 on eight felony counts in Orange County Superior Court.

Municipal Judge Richard W. Stanford Jr. ordered Stewart bound over for trial after several witnesses testified that he placed homemade bombs in 1991 at the Crystal Cathedral and a Christian bookstore in Garden Grove, at the Trinity Broadcasting Network Studios in Tustin and in the lobby of the Orange County Register in Santa Ana.

Stewart, 48, was also named as a suspect when stink bombs were later set off at the Los Angeles Times building in Los Angeles and at a church in Torrance.

Stewart was sentenced last July to three life terms for a hostage-taking incident last year at the Hyatt Regency hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. He told police that the incident was a publicity stunt to alert people about the Rapture--the second coming of Jesus.

His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Robert Knox, said Stewart would probably plead guilty to the charges in Orange County if he could receive a sentence to run concurrently with his prison term in the Los Angeles case.

"The Rapture was motivating him," Knox said. "He is remorseful, and he never meant to harm anyone."

Deputy Dist. Atty. M. Marc Kelly said Stewart will be eligible for parole in 1999, adding that prosecutors believe he should be punished for his crimes in Orange County as well.

"We feel that if he's paroled in 1999, that's not appropriate," Kelly said, noting that Stewart would first have to serve a prison term on the Orange County charges, if convicted, before his life sentences take effect.

Stewart would face a maximum of five years in prison if found guilty of four counts each of discharging a gaseous, nauseous substance in a public place and of placing a fake bomb with the intent of making people fear for their safety.

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